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French grammar - The conjunction que

The conjunction que

We previously saw que as an object relative pronoun (for example: La glace que tu veux.).

It can also function as a conjunction to join two parts (clauses) of a sentence.

-- In the same way as the English conjunction 'that' (for example: 'I think that I like it').

Que typically follows a verb and the second clause (with another verb) immediately follows it.

Unlike in English, the que cannot (casually) be dropped between joined clauses.

CAUTION: many verb + que pairs require the next clause be in the subjunctive mood. This will be covered in a later topic.

-- For example il faut que & je veux que both require the next clause to be in the subjunctive.

Verbs expressing thoughts and speech + que do not require a following subjunctive clause.

Je pense que tu as raison.
I think you (familiar) are right.

penser (verb) means 'to think'

penser que means 'to think that'

Il pense qu'il m'aime.
He thinks he loves me.
Elle sait que vous êtes là.
She knows you (formal) are there.

savoir (verb) means 'to know'

savoir que means 'to know that'

J'espère que tu vas mieux.
I hope you (familiar) are feeling better.

espèrer means 'to hope'

espérer que means 'to hope that'

Je pense que finalement, c'est fini.
I think it's finally over.
Elle se rend compte qu'elle fait un erreur.
She realizes that she is making an error.

se rendre compte que means 'to realise that'

Je me rends compte qu'il n'y a pas d'essence dans la voiture.
I realize that there is no gas in the car.

essence (f) means 'gas' or 'petrol'

Est-ce que tu te rends compte que tu n'as plus d'argent ?
Do you realize that you (familiar) have no more money?
Je crois qu'il vient demain.
I believe he is coming tomorrow.
Il prétend qu'il est astronaute.
He claims he is an astronaut.

astronaute (m) means 'astronaut'

J'entends que le président prend sa retraite.
I hear the president is retiring.

prend sa retraite (verb) means 'to retire'

Quand je lui demande, il me répond qu'il ne comprend pas.
When I ask him, he replies that he does not understand.


Elle ment quand elle dit qu'elle ne sait pas où il est.
She lies when she says she doesn't know where he is.
Je vois que tu parles bien français.
I see that you (familiar) speak French well.
Sentez-vous que la tâche est trop difficile ?
Do you (formal) feel that the task is too difficult?

tâche (f) means 'task' or 'stain'

Vous souvenez-vous qu'ils viennent de Grèce ?
Do you (formal) remember that they come from Greece?

Grèce (f) means 'Greece'